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Real Madrid’s fine start to the LaLiga campaign will face its toughest test yet on Saturday

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24 Sep 2021
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Carlo Ancelotti

Still, Carlo Ancelotti was firmly focused on his own side and refused to be drawn into criticising his rivals ahead of the tie

Ancelotti is not happy if things don’t world out for a team

Real Madrid’s fine start to the LaLiga campaign will face its toughest test yet on Saturday as Villarreal come to the Spanish capital. Still, Carlo Ancelotti was firmly focused on his own side and refused to be drawn into criticising his rivals ahead of the tie. Barcelona’s start to the season has been plagued by infighting between president Joan Laporta and Ancelotti’s counterpart, Ronald Koeman. The latter came under mounting pressure after the Blaugrana drew with Cadiz on Thursday evening. “I watch games; I like football; I’m not happy if a team has a bad time. Look, I evaluate and focus on my time; I like football and all the games, nothing else,” Ancelotti responded when asked about the situation at Barcelona. “I’m not happy if things don’t work out for a team, whether it’s Barcelona or anyone else.”

The team are working on video to analyse what they do well and what they have to improve

Coming off the back of a 6-1 thrashing of Mallorca in midweek, Real Madrid face a second game in four days on Saturday, posing a fresh challenge to Ancelotti’s planning. “Training isn’t possible because they are sessions where you need intensity; you can’t have intensity when you play every three days,” Ancelotti explained as the topic of fixture schedules was brought up. “We do it with video; we work on video to analyse what we do well and what we have to improve. With videos, you can do a good job. “Rotation is a topic that I have to manage well; you give a rest to a player, the substitute does well, and then you have to leave a player on the bench who has played well.”

Real Madrid are going to face a team with a lot of quality

“In the end, you have to pick the team that can win the game; keeping in mind these considerations, I have to do that. The players who haven’t played have a higher chance of playing the next game because they’re fresher.” Next up for Los Blancos is another home tie as Unai Emery’s Villarreal travel to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. “We’re going to face a team with a lot of quality, experience, organisation, used to playing high-level games,” Ancelotti said as he analysed his next opponent. “The game is very, very important, and we’d like to do it well. To beat Villarreal, you have to do everything well.” Fortunately for the Italian coach, he does have some stars in his team that will help that. After shining in midweek, Ancelotti was even asked about Karim Benzema’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or.

“With what he’s doing, he has to be on the list of players who could win it. That said, Karim has time to win it; I don’t think this will be his last season,” the former Milan man explained as he shared his point of view. “He’s how he was when he came; the older he gets, the better he gets.” Finally, Ancelotti was also keen to recognise another player who scored in midweek – Marco Asensio – and the phenomenal performance he put in. “Marco was essential before the game, although he hadn’t played, and in the game, he did very well, showed his quality and the possibility to play in a different position. For us, he’s a very, very important player in the squad,” the 62-year-old said, having seen Asensio score a hat-trick on Wednesday after playing only 68 minutes in the first five games of the season.

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